Opponents of abortion spurned by Irish leader
Saturday 12 September 1992
His closing the door to pressure from key anti-abortion figures will be seen as another sign that Mr Reynolds is breaking with tradition by severing formerly close links between his Fianna Fail party and the Catholic hierarchy.
The Dail is shortly to consider how to resolve the crisis created by the Supreme Court ruling in the so-called 'X' case. The judgment, in the first legal interpretation of the 1983 'equal right to life' amendment to the constitution, ruled abortion could be legal where there was a clear threat to the life of the mother.
The Taoiseach's move comes just four days after the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Desmond Connell, reinforced Church pressure for a new referendum to close the breach in the past abortion ban opened up by the ruling in the 'X' case.
Dr Connell called abortion 'an absolute, an irreparable evil', urging in a sermon that the constitution 'may once more be enabled to express the will of the majority of our people to reject abortion'.
Mr Reynolds's snub is in stark contrast to the close ties between former leaders of the Fianna Fail party and John Charles McQuaid, Archbishop of Dublin until the Seventies, and for many years the Church's chief ideologist.
Bishop Joseph Duffy, spokesman for the Catholic hierarchy, said yesterday the bishops had not sought a meeting with the Taoiseach. They had only had two formal meetings with Dublin governments since 1970, to discuss the 1977 family planning Bill and the 1986 divorce referendum.
Other contacts are known to have taken place with individual ministers, however. Most recently Dr Connell confronted then education minister Mary O'Rourke, opposing her plans to reduce Church control over the Irish education system. He earlier raised her planned reforms with then prime minister Charles Haughey.
Mr Reynolds said moves to legalise homosexual intercourse in the Republic would be at the bottom of the governnment's crowded agenda for the autumn. This may defuse strong opposition to the reform expressed by his own more conservative supporters.
His comment comes despite a commitment given by the Irish envoy to the Council of Europe in May that the ban would be lifted.
Senator David Norris has said he will re-enter his case brought before the European Court of Human Rights challenging the ban. The court ruled in 1988 that the ban broke the European Convention on Human Rights.
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 3 How much sex should I be having?
- 4 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
- 5 Betting company 'refuse to pay' after student wins £1,000 from 50p bet on Roger Federer
Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, reveals new look on Annie Leibovitz shot Vanity Fair cover
Russian military jets and US destroyer clash in Black Sea 'posing danger to stability'
Ed Miliband returns to the backbenches but it's all a bit awkward as he tries to avoid eye-contact with fellow Labour MPs
Photographer who performed naked shoot in China's Forbidden City sparks outrage
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Cloud ERP Solution Provide...
£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...
£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...